Dama is chef Antonia Lofaso’s homage to her Puerto Rican heritage. The dining room and breezy patio have an Old-World Caribbean feel; the dishes reflect the restaurant’s tropical vibe, pulling flavors from all over Latin America, like bocadillos with black calamari, or crispy pork shank with avocado crema. The cocktail program is devoted to rum, with sidelong glances at Tequila and mezcal, while wine manager Taylor Grant stocks her list with exciting new-wave offerings from Spain, like Comando G La Bruja de Rozas, or Las Viñas de Eusebio, from Olivier Rivière, a Frenchman working in Rioja.
Karen started her career in wine as an enologist at Araujo in Napa Valley, having graduated with a BA in International Relations and French from UC Davis. She went on to handle education and sales support for Indie Wineries in California before joining the sommelier team at Spago for a year. For the past several years, she has been working with the publishing group behind the Somm Journal, part of the launch team for The Clever Root, where she served as Managing Editor for two years, then going freelance as a Senior Editor, to raise her daughter, who is now two years old. She also contributes to the Josephine Porter Institute’s newsletter on Applied Biodynamics. Karen has studied in Bordeaux and worked in the Rhône, led there by a glass of Domaine du Pegau, which sparked her interest in the Rhône. And it was a bottle of Diamond Creek’s Gravelly Meadow from the early 1990s that had shifted her view of Napa Valley—her family has been in the Valley for five generations, and once had a dairy farm on the land that became Lake Berryessa.
This story appears in the print issue of April 2019. Like what you read? Subscribe today.